The expected US move to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel risks igniting a “fire” in the Middle East and will prove a “great disaster”, the Turkish government said on Wednesday.
The recognition will “throw the region and the world into a fire and it’s not known when it will end”, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bekir Bozdag wrote on Twitter.
He warned that the move was a “great disaster for everyone” that would lead the way to “turmoil, chaos and clashes” and could produce “unpleasant things that we have not forseen”.
The recognition of the city as Israel’s capital and the moving of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem — expected to be announced by President Donald Trump later Wednesday — showed “great intolerance and mindlessness”, Bozdag said.
Bozdag added that the recognition would “destroy the peace process”, saying that the issue of Jerusalem was the key to peace in the Middle East and the world.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Brussels ahead of meeting US counterpart Rex Tillerson that the move is a “mistake” that “will not bring stability and peace but rather chaos and instability.”
Asked whether he would bring the issue up with Tillerson, the minister said: “I have already told him and I will tell him again.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had warned Tuesday that the status of Jerusalem is a “red line” for Muslims and could even prompt Turkey to cut ties with Israel.
Erdogan — who regards himself as a champion of the Palestinian cause — is due to hold talks later in Ankara with Jordanian King Abdullah II who is also a strong opponent of the move.
Last year, Turkey and Israel ended a rift triggered by Israel’s deadly storming in 2010 of a Gaza-bound ship that left 10 Turkish activists dead and led to a downgrading of diplomatic ties.
The two sides have since stepped up cooperation in particular in energy but Erdogan is still often bitterly critical of Israeli policy.
The United States supports a strong relationship between Turkey, the key Muslim member of NATO, and Israel, which is Washington’s main ally in the Middle East.